For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
Have you ever been afraid of what the day might bring? I have, and to be honest, it was more of a moment to moment struggle. My mind would not stop creating visions of unforeseen tragedies, and my fears increasingly turned into panic. It got so bad that I would get light-headed as soon as I walked into what I believed was a potentially dangerous situation. The major problem was that everything had become a potentially dangerous situation to me. My house was the only place I felt safe. Then one day, while driving, I lost control of my body. I gripped the steering wheel several times, trying to find a position to calm me. I grabbed my neck and hair repeatedly, alternating between the two with my mouth twitching, hands and arms shaking. I looked over at a group of boys selling drugs on the corner, and at that moment, I understood the tremendous struggle within every drug addict, alcoholic, and crazy person I had ever seen in my life. I even thought of pulling my car over to the curb where the boys stood and buying something, anything, to make me feel better.
That day, I realized I couldn’t get well on my own. I couldn’t beat the invisible power that had a hold on me. My mind had folded in on itself. In six months, I had become both depressed and paranoid, and I knew I could no longer think my way back to reality. All the cliché prayers I had learned went right out the window. Instead, I cried a deep cry, gargling Jesus’ name through my tears.
In the days that followed, God gave me deep human insight and overwhelming compassion for people I had once casually dismissed, like prostitutes and the neighborhood “crackhead.” Whenever I encountered them, I talked to each of them about God. I discovered they had a story that was not too different from my own. Life, with its magnitude of cruelty, had brought each of them down to the place where I met them on the street. Instantly, I understood that God put them in my path, so I could look beyond their plight and connect with their humanity…
Reprinted from Pictures in Glass Frames
(Ambassador International, 2011)
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